Fabricio Oberto

Fabricio Oberto is without an NBA home, but still turns down offer from Turkish team

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Few names in the NBA demand the respect of “Fabricio Oberto,” as long as “respect” is measured in smirks, sighs, and knowing guffaws. The Argentinian big man, who played for the Washington Wizards last season, has had a tidy, victorious, and fairly unproductive career as a late-arrival to the American basketball scene. Oberto was a rookie with the Spurs at age 30, and it was in that season that he began carving out a tenure as a limited player in most respects — too slow to play consistent defense, too limited offensively to pose too much of a threat, too unathletic to be much of a presence on the boards — that still managed to get the job done.

Break down Oberto’s stats however you’d like and they still disappoint, yet his smart play, interior passing, and knack for hustle made him a starter on the title-winning Spurs in 2007. Nothing can take away that ring, even if Oberto was that starting lineup’s undeniable weak link.

Oberto has only seen two contracts in his NBA life. He signed a deal with the Spurs back in 2005, and then agreed to a one-year stint with Washington last year for a fairly minimal salary. There was a possibility that the Wizards may bring Fab back for his third NBA contract, but with their young bigs locked into place and ready to log serious minutes, his services are no longer needed there. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the market felt similarly, and Oberto’s limited skill set didn’t demand an NBA salary even in an off-season riddled with exorbitance. $20 million makes sense for Darko, after all, but for an older center with a superior career averages in rebounds, assists, and turnovers per 36 minutes as well as field goal percentage, even the league minimum was apparently too much to ask.

But hey, David Kahn can’t overpay for every center on the market.

With no offers to remain stateside, Oberto is left to sort through various overseas possibilities, but apparently none have tickled his fancy. Most recently: According to The Hoops Market, Turkish club Efes Pilsen offered Oberto a three-month deal to fill in for injured big man Miroslav Raduljica, which he declined due to its abbreviated length. Even without offers from top European teams, Oberto is still in the market for a longer (read: full-season) deal. Time isn’t on Oberto’s side, though, as basketball season is gearing up not only in the United States, but in Europe, as well.

Supposing that Oberto did indeed reject the offer from Efes Pilsen to play the waiting game on a better offer, he may soon be short on realistic long-term options. Some teams may be interested based on Oberto’s international reputation alone (he’s a valued member of the Argentine national team), but it’s not inconceivable that Fabricio could sit out a year or retire from the game for good if he doesn’t receive an offer to his liking.

Frank Vogel says Paul George is best two-way player in game

Paul George, John Wall
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The moniker of the “best two-way player” sounds more like something an agent made up to gain a little leverage contract negotiations. It’s a nebulous concept. It’s an intentional dig at whomever is perceived as a better player, suggesting they don’t play enough defense.

But it’s part of the NBA lexicon now, and Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel thinks he has the best two-way player in the game in the resurgent Paul George. Tuesday night George dropped 40 points on Wizards and Vogel said this after the game, via the Washington Post.

“It’s tough to quantify in words,” Pacers Coach Frank Vogel said. “I mean, he just does so much. He’s capable of going for 40, carrying the offensive load and being the best defensive player on either team. He’s a special player, and the best two-way player in the game. We’re a different team with him out there.”

Paul George’s return to an elite level of play is one of the best stories of this young NBA season — for nine straight games now he has scored at least 25 points, he has pushed the Pacers to a 9-5 record with a top 10 NBA offense and defense. Tuesday night John Wall talked about how George’s improved jumper has made him a far more dangerous, more difficult to guard player. And he’s still a lock-down defender.

But George is not the best two-way player in the game — that’s Stephen Curry. George does not have the offensive impact that Curry brings to the Warriors, plus Curry has developed into a solid NBA defender. Curry gets steals, plays smart, and is a positive on defense, plus he’s the best offensive player in the league right now.

That doesn’t make the return of Paul George any less fun, any less good for the game. It’s great to see George back. Whatever you want to call him.



Kobe Bryant “not really worried” about his shooting after 1-of-14 night

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Sometimes a picture can tell the story better than words.

That’s why above you can see all of Kobe Bryant‘s shot attempts against the Warriors Tuesday, a night where he went 1-of-14 from the floor (and “facilitator Kobe” had two assists). If you want another picture, here is Kobe’s shot chart for the game.

Kobe shot chart vs. Warriors

On the season, Kobe is shooting 31.1 percent overall, 19.5 percent from three, and he has a career low true shooting percentage of 41.5 percent. It’s hard to watch. On a team that is supposed to be developing their young stars, Kobe took as many shots as D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle combined. Laker coach Byron Scott is good with Kobe doing whatever he wants.

But Kobe is worried about his shooting performances, right? Not so much. From Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

If Kobe can figure out the Lakers’ system this season, he will be in a club of one.

I could go on a longer rant here, but the bottom line is this is just a sad spectacle to watch. And there’s a lot of season left to watch it.

Kobe Bryant: Warriors can make run at record 33-game win streak

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Pat Riley compared the Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to one of the legendary guard tandems the game has ever seen — Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. Two Hall of Famers who led the 1972 Lakers to an NBA title.

That West/Goodrich team also won 33 straight games that season.

The Warriors are off to the fastest start in NBA history at 16-0 after destroying the hapless Lakers on Tuesday night, and the question of “when will they lose?” Kobe Bryant thinks these Warriors could get to that legendary 33 mark, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“Yeah, they could do it – because they’re good,” Bryant said afterward. “It’s a very young league, and they’ve managed to put together a team of extremely intelligent players and extremely versatile players, and great shooters. And so I see no reason why they couldn’t continue to extend (the record).”

The Warriors are not even halfway there and have shown some flashes of one-game vulnerability of late (a rough game against the Nets, for example). They have an upcoming seven-game road trip with a couple back-to-backs where they likely stumble at least once.

Then again, look at their next dozen opponents: Suns, Kings, Jazz, Hornets, Raptors, Nets, Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, Suns, Bucks, Jazz. Teams such as the Raptors and Pacers are certainly playing well, but there is no team on that list that makes you step back and say “that’s a loss.” Get through that dozen and the Warriors are at 28-0 and the Lakers’ record is within shot. The Warriors are not going to stop doing what they do — if the wearable science tells them Curry needs a night off, he’ll sit — but if they can get close, for a team trying to establish a legacy of greatness this would be a step in that direction.

The 16-0 mark already is.

Nick Young wears Gilbert Arenas’ old shoes during game (PHOTO)

Nick Young, Devin Harris
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In a disastrous Lakers season, one thing can be counted on (besides Byron Scott saying absurd things about Kobe Bryant): Nick Young will always be able to lighten the mood. He brought some levity to the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night with a blast from the past: a pair of gold shoes formerly worn by his ex-Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas.

These shoes, like Swaggy, and like Gilbert before the injuries and the guns, are awesome and should be celebrated.